The vehicles are designed to cope with the increasing weight of passengers: typically, ambulances are rated for people weighing up to 200kg, but 250kg is now commonplace, so this is the first time a 12-tonne chassis has been used.
The IVECO Eurocargo chassis is equipped with a Farhrtec-Systeme body and large capacity hydraulic tail-lift, which can load or unload patients weighing up to 450kg. The Allison transmission works with a six-cylinder, 276bhp engine.
A larger cab can accommodate up to three crew members and features full air suspension.
As well as their reputation for reliability, the Allison transmissions were chosen to provide a smooth ride, explains Stephan Marker, Allison’s market developer. “It is important to keep patient discomfort to a minimum. The torque converter provides a smooth, uninterrupted power transfer without any shift jerking and the electronic controls of the Allison fully automatic transmission always select the right gear.
“Driving noise is minimised using sophisticated planetary gears in the transmission, so that the patient is not exposed to any additional noise-induced stress during the transport.”